Blank Slate - Need Design Help!

FinnJMarch 5, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Long time reader, 1st time poster. Purchased a house in the zone 6 area and we're starting with a blank slate on the landscaping. There are no completed lots behind us or to the left or right of us as of now.

Some of our observations:
1. backyard has southern exposure - gets really hot so need some kind of shade.
2. need to figure out summer/winter winds - can really get windy and its probably because the entire area is barren.
3. looking to have privacy in the backyard - not sure whether to plant or to get fences

I'm going to include an aerial shot - Would really appreciate some thoughts and ideas if possible!

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I would add some ground level photos, too... basic, overall (not too close) shots ... from views that seem important to you. Are there views off-site that need to be preserved? If so, show.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Sure, including a pic of the front (most important area) with some basic plants in place which I will likely pull out and put elsewhere. Basically, want to have the front as a focal point when coming up to the house.

For the backyard, we have a lot of space and like the open factor, but need to do something to get shade without losing space.

Hope I'm making sense - we're completely new to the whole landscaping design concept and looking get ideas for the blank slate.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:28PM
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FinJ, personally I prefer two things with a blank slate.

1st is the view from the street, namely the main direction you drive in and see every day.

2nd is the view from the windows of the house, or areas outdoors you would use the most.

If you use your garage a lot, I would add windbreaking things like arborviate or any plant choice shrub with mid level evergreen trees behind on the driveway length, rather than have a single row, you could have yews, dwarf pines, juniper, spruce, arborviatae etc. I have never done a house that needed a windbreak from north winds "being from the south", but thats the NW facing section and should get the most winds unless you have a lake or something flat on the NN side.

A very, very distant 3rd is how the areas in the outside interact with each other and the view from them.

Needing shade from Sun exposure is my thing. All zones are a broad thing, is it zn 6 costal, mtn, etc? You want fast growing trees and those with a large canopy. In the south we use magnolias, live oaks, pecans, gums, and maples often.

I do think with your zone decidious trees would be better on the far back of the lot allowing more sun in winter, and with the lower sun having 10-15 ft evergreens behind would allow for year round green while blocking the glaring view of the sun from parts of your home. Your house design on the back to me looks like it could easily entertain a pergola with climing rose, wisteria, grapes, etc. that would make an enteresting area to entertain, you could then make plans for a jacuzzi just off of it with a fire pit. It is an enterly blank slate, what do you like? I think you need to look at homes in the area plant wise, look at some things you like online, get an idea of a budget on what you want to spend, get it on paper, then do it again on paper after waiting a couple of weeks, then piece it together if your going the DIY route. If thats your house in the picture, I would echo the white in the landscape some. I would use real apples and white blooming cherries, honey crisp and rainier. I would also look at yoshinio cherries and white dogwood/white redbud for the front yard. That would pull the focus off your white siding and draw the inside out and the outside in.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:57PM
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"3. looking to have privacy in the backyard - not sure whether to plant or to get fences." ... "For the backyard, we have a lot of space and like the open factor. Explain and reconcile those statements.

Pictures of such low quality are not usable. You'll need to provide pictures that explain to people who've never seen your property, what's there and what's around the site, in as complete and "telling" of a way as possible.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:48AM
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oceandweller - thanks for the detailed post. I'll go ahead and get pictures in the next few days (have a snow storm coming our way as we speak!)

Yardvaark - Understood, will get them with higher quality, more views, etc.

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:05AM
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